Ukraine rebels ban 10 Western health relief groups

24th September 2015, Comments 0 comments

Ukraine's pro-Russian rebels in the separatist Lugansk region on Thursday banned 10 Western health relief groups for "grave violations" of local laws.

The list includes such world-renowned organisations as Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the Czech Republic's People in Need (PIN).

But it spared the operations of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) -- targeted earlier this month for allegedly breaching fire safety laws.

"We received 11 accreditation applications. Ten of them were rejected for various reasons," the Lugansk rebel cabinet's deputy leader Vasily Nikitin said in a statement on the insurgents' official news site.

"With much regret, I must say that People in Need -- they too gravely violated our conditions."

Neither group was immediately available for comment.

The Lugansk guerrillas had earlier accused MSF of "illegally storing psychotropic medication" that lacked proper registration in either Russia or Ukraine.

MSF strongly denied the allegations last week.

It said its operations in Lugansk had been "on hold" since July while it awaited a new work permit.

Nikitin said the outlawed groups had the right to file new applications or even request ones by telephone.

The United Nations estimates that the 17-month conflict on the European Union's eastern frontier has claimed the lives of nearly 8,000 people and injured almost 18,000 -- most of them civilians.

© 2015 AFP

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